Cardinal De Paolis, the Delegate of the Pope for Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ, explains in his letter that Fr. Alvaro’s health was worrying him: “His efforts,” says the Cardinal, “carried out in a climate that was frequently one of suffering and misunderstanding, have weakened his energies to the point of causing us to fear that if he continued his efforts, especially in this year leading up to the General Chapter we might have compromised his health.”
The Legion of Christ’s spokesman, Fr. Benjamin Clariond, confirms that the General Director “is suffering from fatigue due to the wear and tear of these years. The Cardinal, noticing how his health has deteriorated, and to prevent it from being definitively compromised, suggested the idea that he could take some time off before the Chapter. Fr. Alvaro, after considering it, requested permission to set his functions aside until the Chapter. His request was granted,” says Fr. Clariond.
Fr. Alvaro, who was named General Director seven years ago, explains in his letter, “I don’t find it easy to admit, but … I do not have the health and energy necessary to face responsibly the demands of the general governance in the present time of the history of the Legion and Regnum Christi. Though I am not gravely ill, we do need someone who is in full health. For this reason,… I have resolved before God to apply number 509 of our Constitutions and hand over to our Vicar General the exercise of my functions as General Director.”
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis insisted that it needs to be clear that Fr. Alvaro continues being the General Director: “As you can see, this is not a resignation from his position nor are we designating a new, substitute General Director but simply something in the order of a sabbatical year that has been requested by and granted to the General Director. He remains in the position but ceases to exercise its functions until the next General Chapter is convoked,” attests De Paolis.
From October 15 until the General Chapter is convoked – which is usually several months before it takes place – Fr. Sylvester Heereman, currently the Vicar General, will exercise the faculties of General Director.